The Obligation to Disclose the Information Source as a Dangerous Precedent
The decision of the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative District on the publications of Hraparak daily and website concerning an accident in Gyumri may become a challenging precedent to silence mass media and limit the freedom of speech.

The panelists included:

Armine Ohanyan, Editor-in-Chief of Hraparak Daily;

Levon Barseghyan, President of ‘Asparez’ Gyumri’s Journalists’ Club;

Artak Zeynalyan, lawyer, member of ‘Rule of Law’ NGO;

Genya Petrosyan, Deputy Human Rights Defender.

Is the decision made in a closed hearing legal?

The Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative District issued the given decision without the participation of mass media representatives who claim that they were not even informed that an inspector of the RA Special Investigation Service had brought a suit to examine a suit based on their publications.

Armine Ohanyan confirmed that they received a Special Investigation Service notice requesting to provide the Service with data concerning the information source. A written reply was certainly sent, as Armine Ohanyan said, ‘referring to the RA Law on Mass Media we wrote that we had used all the information in the publication which can be referred to, as for the source, we wouldn’t disclose it.’

Armine Ohanyan describes the case as an unprecedented and new method which is applied against mass media. With respect to the legality of the decision, Atak Zeynalyan said ‘the court was not competent to take the claim and hold the hearings without the participation of the mass media.’ In addition, the journalist who is the information possessor must take part in the hearings and present their arguments; Artak Zeynalyan concluded ‘this case could not be examined either according to the criminal code or even civil code. It is an illegal action since the court did not act under the law.’

The Human Rights Defender of Armenia is seriously concerned over the possible dangers in protection of information source

Genya Petrosyan clarified that the Human Rights Defender is not competent to comment on the cases which are still in the trial process but she discussed some points pertaining to the case. Particularly, she noted ‘obliging the mass media to disclose the information source to contribute to the investigation may result in the devaluation of the given right and exclusion of the opportunity for mass media to acquire information, which is very dangerous.’

The panelist also mentioned that Karen Andreasyan, Human Rights Defender of Armenia, has filed a written proposal of amendments to the Ministry of Justice.

The court decision will not force the given mass media to shift their news policy

Levon Barseghyan is convinced that law enforcement agencies will not silence Hraparak and According to Barseghyan, it may be an effort to ‘threaten those mass media which are already frightened as if to teach a lesson to everyone saying that you will have such risks if you don’t work as data collector for us.’

The representatives of Hraparak and appealed the decision of the court of General Jurisdiction in the court of appeal.

Print Friendly and PDF
More Press Releases
“Environmental Disaster in Lori: The Consequences of Akhtala Mountain Enrich Combinat”
The media regularly reportes that the old mine dumps of Akhtala Mountain Enrich Combinat, situated between Chochkan and Mets Ayrum communities in Lori region, poses a danger to the environment and the population.
“The 4th President of Armenia: a Ceremonial Position or a Weighty Political Figure?”
On March 2, 2018, the RA National Assembly will elect the 4th President of Armenia. On January 18, Armen Sargsyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, was nominated as the candidate for the presidency of the Republic of Armenia during the meeting of the executive body of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA).
“Does the State Refuse its Obligations? Donation Call by the RA Minister of Defense for the Treatment of the Military Serviceman”
On January 13, RA Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan posted on his Facebook page about the treatment expenses of military serviceman Albert Dallakyan, who was wounded as a result of violating the rules for safe handling with a weapon by the platoon commander. The minister urged to donate for surgery of the wounded soldier abroad. The required amount is 46,000 USD.
“Report on Violations of Conscripts’ Rights during the Conscriptions in 2016-2017”
The most urgent issue for conscripts involves the health issues and medical conclusions during conscriptions. In 2016-2017, 50 out of 59 applications filed by the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor Office referred to the health issues of conscripts.
“Is Forgiving Heads of Communities a Recovery of Local Self - Government System or Promotion of Corruption? Response to Serj Sargsyan’s Speech”
On December 9, 2017, during the meeting dedicated to local self-government and territorial administration bodies RA President Serzh Sargsyan stated in particular:
Follow us on social networks
Registration of events
Press Releases
Armenia-Turkey Events